African volleyball: Seychelles' club ARSU wins against Mauritius and loses against Tunisia
File Photo: Seychelles team Arsu (on the left wearing blue and white) in action in the 2014 CAVB Zone 7 Club Championships Reunion's St Denis. (Joena Bonnelame, Seychelles News Agency)
Seychelles' women's volleyball club ARSU won one match and lost one in the 2023 Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB) championship taking place in Tunisia on Sunday.
ARSU won their match against Indian Ocean neighbours Quatre Borne Volleyball Club (QVC) of Mauritius in 3 sets to 1, with the set scores of 25-17, 17-25, 25-23, 28-26.
The Anse Royale-based team lost their first match of the competition last week against the host nation's team, Carthage of Tunisia, with 0-3 set scores of 15-25, 15-25, 11-25.
The Seychelles' side has been drawn in pool A which also includes Senegal's AJD Diorfior that ARSU ladies will face on Tuesday. There are 16 teams participating in the tournament and they have been drawn in four groups of four.
The last time ARSU took part in the tournament was in 2017 when they finished 13th after qualifying as the Indian Ocean region champions.
This time, they qualified after reaching the final of the Indian Ocean Club Championship earlier this year, where they lost to QVC.
Meanwhile, the next big outing for Seychellois volleyball players will be at the 2023 Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG) in Madagascar in August.
Seychelles' men's and women's teams will be led by two experienced coaches, Maurice Denis for the men's side and Julien Onezime for the women.
Although the hope is for Seychelles to do well, the chairman of the Seychelles Volleyball Federation (SVF) chairman, Ronald Wong, told SNA on Tuesday that the teams are not ready for the games.
"We are not ready, as it has been difficult to prepare since we do not have adequate facilities," he said.
Volleyball competitions in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, very often take place at the Palais de Sports at Roche Caiman. Since March 2022, the facility has been under renovation which was expected to take 14 weeks.
The renovation also includes electrical work to replace existing lights, and placement of steel bracings to support wooden columns damaged by leaks and inflows of water during rainy weather. The works are also to stop leakages which make courts inside the infrastructure slippery when it rains.
Furthermore, since the COVID-19 pandemic, Seychelles' volleyball competition has not been played at the same level as before. Restrictions that were in place on large gatherings curtailed the organisations of tournaments.
Wong told SNA that despite a lack of adequate support, such as insufficient payment for coaches, it is the people who love the sport, who continue to contribute towards its development.